New Book of Translated Commentaries on Yuthok’s Ati Yoga


Some happy news. Recently, I produced some English translations of commentaries written in Tibetan by Dr Nida Chenagtsang on the special Ati Yoga (Dzogchen) instructions of the Yuthok Nyingthig, the cycle of comprehensive tantric Buddhist teachings associated with Tibetan medicine and connected with Yuthok, the father and chief systematizer of Tibetan medicine who is said to have achieved full liberation in one life and to have dissolved into rainbow light at his death. These translations have now been combined with supplementary material to create a new book, ‘Mirror of Light: A Commentary on Yuthok’s Ati Yoga’ which will be published by SKY Press on the 9th of November 2016.

The book includes an introduction by Dr Nida, prefaces by yours truly, the publisher, and a foreword by Professor Robert Thurman. In addition to the main chapters of commentary, the book also contains an updated translation of an essay by Dr Nida on the unique characteristics of the Yuthok Nyingthig (see my earlier rough translation here), a collection of Yuthok prayers, the practice text for the Outer Guru Yoga sadhana of the Yuthok Nyingthik, a condensed practice for the medical protector Shanglön Dorje Düdul, an extensive glossary, and a translation of an exquisite one-of-a-kind spontaneous yogic song written by Dr Nida to inspire male and female tantric practitioners to maintain the Ati Yoga view throughout every aspect and moment of their lives and experiences.

Through Ati Yoga, we can come to recognize the ‘true face’ of mind, the primordial, uncontrived luminous awareness that is the very basis and nature of being. We can learn to trust in and let go into the infinite expanse and ease of this always-already perfect nature, to allow whatever arises to self-liberate. The core of the book is divided into two chapters: one which includes Dr Nida’s and other Ati Yoga adepts’ explanations and advice on the preliminary, preparatory practices of Ati Yoga and another devoted to extraordinarily clear pith instructions on Trekcho or ‘Cutting Through Hardness’, the Ati Yoga practice of slicing decisively through conceptual elaborations and dualistic thinking and grasping to reveal the primordial purity that is the ‘baseless base’ and ‘groundless ground’ of consciousness.

The book is designed for sincere and dedicated students who wish to practice Trekcho and Ati Yoga preliminaries, and is intended to serve as a concise manual to supplement and consolidate direct instruction from a qualified teacher. This is the first time these uniquely medical and remarkably clear Ati Yoga teachings have appeared with commentary by a Tibetan master of the lineage, in English. The book is loaded with beautiful imagery and its teachings are truly profound. I have no doubt they will be both beneficial and transformative.

For those who are curious, here’s a little excerpt from the book, and Master Yuthok himself:

“Beyond expression and thought, inconceivable, ineffable, the naked primordial awareness is clear and bright, totally relaxed and open. It is all external appearances without exception. It is all internal awareness without exception. It is wholly unobstructed wisdom. It is beyond the need for rejecting afflictive emotions and bad actions, and is free of any ‘rejector’. Perceive, without perceiving any ‘thing’, the natural state of this primordial is-ness.”

For more information, you can check out SKY Press’s website here: